The Florida Gators have put up some very impressive numbers over the past year, starting with a team that has gone 36-2 this season to reach the 2014 Final Four. With just a pair of losses in 2013-2014, including a record 18-0 undefeated season in SEC play, the Gators will seek to gain a measure of revenge when they reach Arlington, Texas to compete in the 2014 NCAA March Madness Final Four. That is because, excluding last season’s SEC and NCAA Tournament, the Gators’ past three regular season losses have come against the other three Final Four teams: the Connecticut Huskies, Wisconsin Badgers and Kentucky Wildcats. If Florida is to cut down the nets one week from tonight, it will do so by defeating two of the three teams who have dealt them its past three losses.
To end the 2012-2013 regular season, the Gators lost by four on the road against the Wildcats, although Kentucky was a much different looking team in that game. In fact, all five starters from this year’s Final Four squad were still in high school during that contest.
At the start of this past season, the Gators lost their first game of the year on the road against the Badgers in just their second game. They would go on to win their next five games before dropping another contest away from O’Connell Center, this time falling by one on a last second shot against the Huskies.
Florida has not lost since, including a two-game sweep of the Wildcats in 2014.
If Billy Donovan’s Gators are going to cut down the nets for the third time, they will have to defeat teams who have wins over them over the past year or so. Starting with UConn on Saturday, Florida will look to avoid a similar fate by having to find a way to slow down Shabazz Napier of the Huskies. His buzzer-beater helped UConn knock off Florida last December, and he has been playing as well as any player in the country throughout the NCAA Tournament.
If the Gators can get past Connecticut and advance to next Monday night’s championship game, they will face either the Badgers – who held them to just 53 points, which was their lowest point total of the season, on November 12 – or the Wildcats, who are clicking on all cylinders at the right time after knocking off the undefeated Wichita State Shockers as well as last season’s championship teams, the Louisville Cardinals and Michigan Wolverines.